Every Day is Exactly the Same
Thank you very much to xDollface (sorry. They won't let me put the spaces in your name) for helping me out with more of the plot for EDiEtS. I couldn't have done it without you! I know it took longer than I expected to get this out, but at least it did!
Chapter Eight: The Silence in Between
"Wolff has been useless to us. And everyone we have sent after him has come back dead or too injured to continue. This is going to you now. Don't fail me."
"Of course," she paused. "There are rumors that he has help."
He scoffed. "Take them out if they get in the way. He's your priority."
"Remember what he's done. Everyone we lost was because of him. If he is not taken care of quickly we will only lose more."
"He'll be taken care of."
He nodded but said nothing. His silence meant the end of their conversation.
Matt pounded on Evie's door. It was well past noon and he hadn't seen or heard from her since the night before. Not since they'd parted ways by the pool. He waited a moment again before taking up his knocking.
"Come on, Evie," he muttered. "Answer your fucking door!"
He stepped back, worry inching its way into his mind. It never took this long to get Evie to the door. Matt stood up straight and lifted his arms, running his fingers along the top of the door frame. She had no welcome mat outside of her door to hind a key under or a plant. Wow he had to get this woman out more.
Matt dropped his arms, defeated. Nothing. At least she was smart enough to not put an extra key in the one place a thief would look. There were times like this that he wished she trusted him enough to give him an extra key to her apartment.
He dropped his shoulder and moved back. This was going to hurt but he had to get into her apartment; he had to make sure she was okay.
"Can I help you?"
Matt looked up at the man standing down the hall from him, a tool box in his right hand. A pair of overalls hung low on his hips. A relieved smile crossed Matt's lips. "Yeah, thanks," he took a breath before continuing. "Listen, my name is Matt Simonson. I'm Evangeline Thomas' partner. She was supposed to meet me today-"
"Ms. Thomas doesn't have a partner," the old man interrupted.
Matt stopped, confused. "What?" he shook his head as realization struck him. "No, not that kind of partner," he pulled the badge from his hip and held it out for the man to see. "I'm her partner from work. Listen, I haven't heard from her since last night and she isn't answering her phone or door today. Can you unlock the door so I can make sure she's okay?"
"Haven't seen her since last night either," the man responded as he ambled slowly to the door, fiddling with the key chain on his belt. "Not since she brought that unconscious man in."
Matt's eyes flew to the door. "What man?"
"Don't know. She and some other feller were carrying him in. I had a leak emergency in the place down the hall and saw them taking him in. Didn't see anyone come out after that but I wasn't up here long."
Matt stepped up to the door and pounded on it again, suddenly more worried than he was before. Evie had said she was going to find Mouse. Could Mouse have been the other man? But what about the one that had been unconscious? What did they have to do with Evie not responding to him?
"Just settle down, sir. I'll get you in."
Matt bit his tongue. The man didn't seem to understand the urgency of the situation. Evie could be dead in there and he wanted to take his time to get in.
"I'm supposed to actually call the landlord in this type of situation but seeing as you're law and all I guess it'll be okay." He found the key he was looking for and placed it in the lock.
The super had barely turned it before Matt had the door open. "Evie?"
The apartment wasn't in a mess. Nothing seemed out of order. Nothing was knocked over. Matt walked through the entry way and looked around the corner into the kitchen. A bag of melted ice sat on the counter, resting on top of a spread out towel. He moved on. A blanket and pillow were resting haphazardly on the couch, a corner of the blanket tossed over the top. His heart skipped a beat as he turned his gaze to the half open door leading to Evie's room. A pale hand was tucked against the door jamb.
Matt was at the door before he even realized it, his shoulder bumping the door the rest of the way open. Evie was on her side, her head on top of her outstretched arm. A trail of blood had trickled from a wound on her forehead.
Matt pulled Evie gently away from the wall, placing her on her back and checked for a pulse with shaking fingers. "Shit. Call an ambulance."
"What?" the super walked in closer. His eyes widened. His hands reached for his pocket and pulled out a phone.
The super's voice droned on in the background as Matt hovered over Evie's prone form. Her pulse was light but steady. She was alive at least. But she wouldn't wake up. His heart still pounded in his chest. The only thing he could do was keep his fingers on her pulse. His mind wouldn't comprehend anything else.
Matt couldn't think of what had happened. His eyes wouldn't look away from her to look around the room. He didn't think of the knocked over bowl of bloody water next to the bed or the bandages that were on the night table. Or even the little spatters of blood on the carpet. He just had to keep his fingers on the pulse to make sure she was still alive. Nothing in the world mattered at that moment except for her pulse.
As long as she was okay everything else would be fine.
"I don't know how you expect me to do this. I don't know how you could ever do this. My world is completely fucked up." Adam said, his voice a hushed whisper. They were back at work like it was a normal day; like the night before hadn't even happened. Wesley was treating the events of the night before as if they were nothing. He didn't seem bothered by the fact that they left a woman unconscious and bleeding on her bedroom floor.
Wesley shrugged. "You get used to it."
"But you shouldn't have to. I shouldn't have to get used to the fact that a guy I work with, a guy I considered my friend, kills people."
"Killed," Wesley corrected. "It's not something I do any more."
"So last night was just, what? A relapse?"
"I already told you. It was self defense. He tried to kill me first."
Adam snorted. "So if he jumped off a bridge you'd do it too?"
Wesley ran a hand down his face, propping his chin in the palm of his hand. "It's not like that Adam. It was a reflex. What would you do if someone pulled a knife on you?"
"I'd run the other fucking way! You're crazy if you think I would knowingly run into a fight like that."
"And there was a time I was exactly like you. I didn't have the balls to even confront my cheating girlfriend. As sick as it sounds, the Fraternity were the ones who actually helped me grow a spine. They made me realize I wasn't just some poor asshole who got the short end of the stick." He stretched his arms over his head, popping his back in the process. "I went from panic attacks to having incredible abilities that I couldn't even dream of."
Adam looked over at him, his fingers poised over his keyboard. "You sound like you miss it."
Wesley jerked in his seat. Did he? Did he really miss getting his ass kicked every day for 'training'? Did he really miss having countless injuries from the countless fights? Or the feeling of his strength growing every day to the point where he felt more powerful, almost invincible? Granted, it was the only time that he ever felt needed; that he was part of something.
That he was home.
Wesley ran a hand through his hair. "It's not that I miss it," he finally replied. "They trained me; made me stronger. But they're also the ones who made me kill my father. I've tried to put that life behind me. They're the ones that keep dragging me back in."
Adam watched Wesley as he spoke. He looked nostalgic at first, almost as if he really did miss that life. He had never seen Wesley show so many emotions in just a few seconds. The pride as he spoke of growing stronger and then the bitterness as he recounted their betrayal. The excitement at finding his father and then the sadness at losing him again.
Wesley was a complicated man, that much he could tell.
"Good God what happened to you?"
Wesley and Adam both looked up. Ashley stood in front of them, a manila folder tucked in her arm. Neither one of them had really thought about the bruises on Wesley's face.
"Oh, um, we went to a club last night," Adam replied, not technically lying. "Wesley got really drunk and ran into a wall." Again. Not technically lying.
One of Ashley's eyebrows rose. "Ran into a wall."
Wesley gave a tight smile. "Yeah, well. There could have been a couple punches thrown. Maybe I did something without realizing it and someone tried to kill me over it."
Adam's eyes widened slightly. He swallowed. What was Wesley doing? Why was he telling her that?
Ashley stared at them for a moment, her mouth slightly open. After a horrifying few seconds, a smile pushed its way across Ashley's lips and a laugh burst from her mouth.
"Oh Wesley, you're so funny!" she responded, pushing playfully on his shoulder. "Like our little Wesley could ever fight someone. I'd believe the wall story over that any day!"
She walked off, still laughing. Adam stared after her and then looked back at Wesley. "What just happened?"
Wesley shrugged. "People believe what they want to believe," he stood up and pushed his chair in. "Come on. Let's go get something to eat."
"Did you find it?"
"Yes, sir. It was in the library, just like you said."
Lucien nodded and took the folder from Ravena. He perused its contents and nodded again. This would do nicely. She needed to see it. This would change everything. Perhaps it would finally convince her.
Her throat felt scratchy as she spoke. "I can't believe you called Daniel."
"What the hell else was I supposed to do? You were unconscious on the floor of your room. The only thing I knew about you was that you had a pulse. And technically, I called an ambulance, they called Daniel."
Evie played with the bandage on her arm holding the IV in and stared at the unadorned wall next to her. She hated hospitals. She hated the smell of them; the sterile feeling of every hallway and room. She hated the way the doctors and nurses stared at you as if you were dying and gave fake smiles as if that was all it took to make you feel better.
Matt fidgeted next to the door. He tugged on the sleeves he had rolled up at some point during the ambulance ride. Evie could still see him shaking slightly. She remembered the feeling. She remembered the first glimpse she had of her partner lying on his stomach, his lifeless eyes staring off into something she couldn't see. That burst of adrenaline that poured through her system as she beat down the panic that wanted to overtake her.
Matt didn't look at her. He kept his eyes on the wall above her head. "You scared the shit out of me."
"I know," she responded. "I'm sorry."
"Why didn't you clue me in on anything you were doing last night? What did you get in to? I had to explain to the paramedics that, no, you weren't a professional fighter," he took a deep breath. "Evie, you've been in more fights in the last week than out of all the time I've known you."
Matt finally turned his attention from the light above her. "You're sorry? That's all you can say? I'm worried about you; worried sick. Ever since we've taken this case you've been different."
"I don't know what you mean."
Matt straightened. "Bullshit. If you don't want to tell me what's going on then fine, but don't lie to me."
Evie's fist clenched, the skin near the IV twinging. She opened her mouth but shut it again. He was her partner. She didn't want to lie to him but she had to. He wouldn't believe it even if she told him.
It's nothing personal Ms. Thomas. I just can't afford for you to be a liability any longer.
Evie opened her mouth again. "Matt. I can't-"
The door swung open, Daniel walking in with a clipboard in his hand. He gazed between Matt and Evie. Matt turned to him and Evie saw his mouth open slightly. "Oh man," he said to her. "I am so sorry."
Evie's eyebrows furrowed and she winced at the movement. "For wh-?"
"Evangeline. Oh thank God."
A rail thin woman made her way into the little room. She perched on the bed, the mattress hardly moving at her weight. A cold hand slid into Evie's and squeezed it gently.
Evie's eyes moved to Daniel's accusingly. "You called my mother?!"
"She had to know."
"Don't get mad at Daniel, Evangeline," her mother reprimanded. "He did the right thing by letting me know. You're in the hospital. You're injured. What person in their right mind wouldn't call their mother?"
Evie could almost see her mother puffing up in worried anger. She had never been bigger than she was now. For as long as Evie could remember her mother had always been stick thin, a gene Evie had not inherited. She took after her father; a slim build that hid the solid muscle underneath. It was a runner's build.
Evie gazed pleadingly at Matt for help. He tried to hide a grin by scratching his nose. She glared at him.
"Do you think you gentleman could give us a minute?"
"Of course, Clara. Come Mr. Simonson. I think there is still someone waiting for you to fill out forms."
Matt swiped his hand over his face, a look of exhaustion crossing it. "Awesome. Can't wait," he looked pointedly at Evie. "I'll talk to you in a bit."
Evie offered a tight smile in return. "Mom-"
Clara threw her arms around Evie's shoulders. She took a deep, shuddering breath and buried her face against Evie's neck. "How could you do this to me again? As if once wasn't enough. As if I didn't already lose your father and almost lose you before. I don't think I could bear it."
Evie stilled. She wasn't sure how to respond. Her mother had always been overly emotional. After her father's death Clara had done nothing but cry for weeks, understandable under the circumstances. Evie had caught her staring at her sadly every now and then, tears threatening to fall from her eyes. She had randomly pulled her into hugs, never saying anything, just holding her against her body, although Evie had always been able to feel the way her body shook as she cried silently.
Evie wrapped her arm around her mother's shoulders. She tilted her head against her mother's. She didn't know what to say. "Mom," she started but stopped as a jolt of pain went through her throat. Clara cupped her cheek and gave a watery smile.
"It's okay, Squish."
Evie smiled at her childhood nickname. It was something her mother had started when she was a child. Clara always told her that she was her little Squish, that her chubby cheeks were the favorite part of Evie. She used to always squeeze them between her fingers, just a two fingered pinch as she passed her by. It had always caused a wide grin to cross her face.
It wasn't something that had occurred often since her father's death.
Clara pinched her cheek and pulled back. "I'm sorry I was so brash. I was worried. Daniel called and all I could do was remember the last time, the one time, I got a call from them."
Evie nodded in understanding. "Dad."
Clara's eyebrows drew together. Her fingers wrapped around Evie's. "No, sweetie. It was for you."
It was Evie's turn to look confused. "What are you talking about?"
Clara squeezed Evie's hand. "I keep forgetting you don't remember. Evie, I-"
"I'm sorry to interrupt. Evangeline, I want to keep you here overnight for observation. It doesn't look to be anything too serious, but with the amount of contusions and the injury on your head I'd rather be safe about it. If all goes well you'll be able to go home in the morning. Clara, can I speak to you for a moment?"
Clara placed a kiss on Evie's forehead, careful of the bandages, and turned away. Evie watched her mother speak to Daniel from the picture window leading to the hallway. Her mother sent little glances at her, each one looking more distressed.
Matt walked in front of the window with his phone pressed to his ear. He lifted his arm to knock until he saw her looking at him.
"Yes, sir. Of course. I'll get right on that."
Matt pinched the bridge of his nose as he hung up.
Evie scratched at the bruises on her throat. "What is it?"
"Forensics went over your place. Besides the numerous fingerprints that don't seem to belong to anyone, there's the tipped over bowl of bloody water to figure out," he paused, slouching down in the chair next to the bed. "It'd be easier if you just told me what happened."
"I went to look for Mouse. I was told he'd be at Club 9. I went in but couldn't find him. A gentleman came up to me, telling me he had witnessed a murder. We went into the men's restroom where he proceeded to tell me what he knew. We were attacked by another man and I fought him off."
Matt stared at her. "And that's it," he stated.
Matt pursed his lips and nodded slightly. "What about the man that was handcuffed to your bed?"
"Don't lie to me," he hissed, leaning forward to rest his elbows against his knees. "Daniel told me what happened last night. He told me that you called him to check out some man that was injured. That you weren't going to bring him in. What are we going to find when we test that blood?"
Evie's chin lifted. She looked in Matt's eyes; saw the anger mixed with concern. She didn't want to hurt him but she didn't want to risk his life either.
A voice came uninvited to her mind. The more you find out the more complicated all of this becomes.
"I found Wesley Gibson." She said quietly.
"Technically he found me. The man, Adam Meyers, witnessed Gibson killing another man. He was running from him when he ran in to me at Club 9."
Matt took a deep breath. "Was Gibson the one who attacked you?"
"No. A different man did that. I sent Adam to call you. I guess he ran into Gibson when he went outside. The next thing I know Gibson is taking the other guy out. And before you ask, no, I don't know what happened to him. I called Daniel and left."
Matt pinched the bridge of his nose again. "You do realize the position you're in? You should have called this in last night. The local PD should have at least been brought in. Gibson should not have been taken to your apartment!"
"What was I supposed to do Matt?" Evie snapped. "I needed answers. Gibson is the only clue I have for the Mill. He was there. I had to get answers before I turned him in."
"You had to? You couldn't have interrogated him like any normal suspect? You should have brought him in. You should have at least called me. We could have figured something out."
"I wasn't going to drag you in to it. If the department found out, I'd be the only one to get in trouble. I didn't want to pull you down too."
"And how did that work out for you?"
Evie's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?"
"Did you get your answers, Evie? Where's Gibson now? I would assume you know since you had all of this handled."
"Gibson escaped when I was trying to change his bandages. He got the better of me. If Adam wasn't there when you found me then he took him." It wasn't technically a lie. Evie just didn't feel it was necessary to tell Matt about the other visitors. He wasn't going to be able to find out anything about them. They didn't exist.
"And how do you know they weren't in it together?"
"You didn't see him, Matt. Adam was scared out of his mind. He was in shock when I got him to my apartment. I was going to bring them both in this morning."
"What else do you know about him?"
"He works with Gibson. He said he witnessed him killing the man outside Rowdy's."
"Where did he say they worked?"
Evie shook her head. "We didn't get that far in the conversation."
Matt sighed. "I'll call it in about Rowdy's. Maybe get a car over to check out the alley, see what they can find," he stood, brushing invisible dust from his pants. "I've got to get into the office so I'll see you later. Let me know when they're releasing you."
He lifted his hand and waved over his shoulder but didn't turn back. He left, taking a moment to speak to Clara and Daniel and then was gone from Evie's sight. He didn't even look back at her before he left.
"This is Agent Matt Simonson. I need you to send a squad car to Rowdy's on Fifty Fourth Street. Check the alley behind the bar. There was a possible homicide. Yeah, no. It was an anonymous tip. Yes. Let me know what you find."
Matt took a deep breath and rested his head against the headrest. He closed his eyes. He was still parked in the hospital parking garage. The darkness fit his mood. Plus he didn't feel like actually going to office quite yet. He needed a few moments to think.
He didn't want to handle this today. It was too much. He had always known Evie was headstrong; that she did what she wanted. People turned a blind eye to it as long as she produced results. But after this? He wasn't so sure it was going to be that simple.
Evie'd had the suspect and then lost him. The only other lead they'd had against him had been lost as well. She was slipping. She was falling further and further into this case and not paying attention to anything else that was going on around her. And that had almost cost her her life. Matt was afraid she would topple over the edge if she went on like this much longer.
His phone chirped. He brought it to his ear without opening his eyes. "Simonson."
A smile crept over his lips. No matter his mood, the sound of her voice would always have that reaction. "Hey."
"You sound terrible. You okay?"
"Yeah, fine," Matt wiped his hand down his face. "It's been a long day."
"I'm sorry," her voice turned coy. "I know something that can make it better."
"And what is that?"
Caroline laughed. "You'll have to come home to find out."
Matt chuckled as well. "You have no idea how good that sounds right now, but I can't. I have to get back to the office. Rain check?"
"Of course. Just don't keep me waiting. I miss you."
"Miss you too. I'll be home later."
"Oh, hey. We should invite Evie over for dinner tomorrow. It's been a while since she's been over."
Matt hesitated, the smile falling from his lips. "Yeah. I'll do that."
"Are you sure you're all right?"
"Yeah. Really. I'm fine. I'll see you when I get home."
Caroline sighed. "Okay. I'll see you then. Just . . . just be careful okay?"
"I always am."
"And tell Evie 'hi' for me."
Matt sighed as he hung up. He may as well get to the office. He couldn't do anything until the local PD called him back. He started the ignition and pulled out of the parking spot. May as well get the rest of his day started.
"You look well, Ms. Thomas."
Evie stirred at the cultured voice. "It's so good of you to care." She muttered sleepily.
She could hear the smirk is his voice as he slipped into the chair next to her. "Of course. Was the visit with your mother satisfying?"
Evie slowly turned over toward him. She pushed up to lean against the pillows. "Is there something you need, Mr. Caius?"
His mouth turned up in a one sided smile. He placed a manila folder on the edge of the tray table and scooted it toward her. "I simply wanted to give you this."
Evie's fingers curled away from the file. She eyed it with mild curiosity. "Why should I take anything from you?"
"Because it is something that you will find most interesting, Ms. Thomas," his head tilted slightly in the dim light. "And because it pertains to you."
Evie's finger touched just the corner of the file. "What do you mean?"
Lucien idly crossed his legs. "You will have to read it, Ms. Thomas."
Her eyes narrowed at him. The man had tried to kill her just a day before. Hell, he'd probably still try when given the chance. He wasn't someone that she trusted. She couldn't possibly guess what could be in the folder.
"Why are you here?"
"I thought we covered that already."
"You tried to kill me."
"I did and I stand by my reasoning. You're getting yourself too involved in matters that don't concern you. You are endangering yourself and everyone you care about."
"Don't give me that bullshit."
"As eloquent as ever Ms. Thomas."
Evie gave him a sarcastic smile and pulled the file closer. She flipped it open, aware of Lucien watching her from the corner of her eye. Her eyebrows furrowed as she began scanning the pages. Evie felt her heart begin to pound as she read further.
"This can't be right."
AN: I, in no way, feel the way Evie does about hospitals or their staff. I've been hospitalized before and the nurses are nothing if not the nicest people I have ever met. Just thought I would put that out there.
I also felt that it was about time we met her mother. She was just a blurb of a mention in an earlier chapter but I didn't want to leave her as that. She will be semi-important in Evie finding out a lot of stuff she doesn't know.
I hope you all enjoyed!